Monday, March 21, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon

Have you seen "How to Train Your Dragon" yet?  If not, stop reading this and go watch it now!  This is my boys' current movie of choice- and no wonder, it is awesome!  Seriously, go and buy it.  Trust me it is worth it.  This movie is genius.  The characters are uniquely loveable in a very tough, Vikingish way despite their odd names: Hiccup, Astrid, Fishlegs and Ruffnut.  The main character,  Hiccup, is your typical, awkward kid who wants deperately to please his father, but he just can't.  Astrid is a strong, axe wielding heroine who is faster and fiercer than most of her peers and who will not back down from a fight.  But she has brains as well as brawn.  (Hooray for a cartoon with a great female lead!)   The script is full of hillarious one liners and wry charm.  And the soundtrack, oh, the soundtrack is lovely!  It was nominated for an oscar.  I purchased it on iTunes because I just LOVE it!  We must have watched the movie 10 times in the last week (Sam has been home sick from school) and I still can't get enough of the music-- or the movie or the dragons for that matter.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  The dragons are amazing!  They are all unique in size, shape and abilities and have their own personalities that clearly shine through.  Toothless, the main dragon is fearsome and dangerous and just one of the sweetest creatures I have ever seen.  I would seriously keep him for a pet.

So let's review:  great movie, buy it now and go watch it (two or three times even).  It will be well worth it.  Oh and if anyone knows where I can find a pet Night Fury, let me know.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Aubrey's Baptism

Last weekend we traveled up to middle-of-nowhere (sorry Gav and Jamie, but it's true!) Massachusetts for our niece, Aubrey's, baptism.  In our church we don't baptize children when they are born, we wait until they are old enough to decide if it is what they want for themselves- an age of accountability of sorts. 
Anyway, Aubrey turned 8 on Friday and was baptised the following day.  She was so excited and Samuel, who turns 8 in June, was just dying that it wasn't his turn.  Jamie gave a sweet talk about the steps Aubrey has taken to prepare for her baptism.  Aubrey enthusiastically 'helped' her.  Gavin performed the actual baptism- twice- since it is baptism by immersion and Aubrey's toes peeked above the water the first time.  John gave a great talk about the Holy Ghost using the boys and I to help illustrate a point.
For refreshments, Jamie decided on a Philly theme based on a craving for soft pretzels.  It was a huge hit with everyone.  The Tasty Cakes went so fast I'm not even sure they were really there.
The kids all had a great time together and we took the opportunity to take some family pictures.

pre baptism

three generations

the kids

after the party

Thursday, March 10, 2011

artist in training

James is becoming quite the little artist.  Last fall I signed him up for an art class, offered by the Swarthmore Recreation Association, just as something to do after school and a way to see his friend, Gracie.  Eve Walters, the woman crazy enough to run this class of twelve 3-5 year olds, is an amazing teacher!  She takes time to really teach the kids about art history and well known artists as well as how to create their own art. 
making Tiffany windows
James can not get enough.  He now draws all the time.  In fact, this week he has decided that he needs to teach me how to draw.  So Tuesday we sat at the kitchen table and he said, "OK, Mom.  We are going to draw a camel.  Now first let's start with the head.  Don't forget you need two humps and a tail.  See what I'm doing?  OK.  Don't forget the eye.  Are you making a girl camel or a boy camel?  Now we are going to draw a unicorn..."  It is adorable!
The SRA art class is one hour a week and six weeks long.  The last part of the 6th class is the art show.  Eve mats all of their artwork and displays it charmingly for the parents to admire. 
The greatest thing about this whole experience is watching his growth.  He is really getting better at art and enjoys it more than he ever has before.  Today as we sat at the table to do some drawing he drew a picture of a lamb and of his stuffed animal giraffe.  Not only were they both clearly recognizable but they were actually pretty good.  I was totally blown away.
Here are some pictures from his latest art show.  We are now starting our third series of art classes.  Eve makes sure that their are new projects each session so none of the kids ever make the same project twice.  So fun!
The wall of paintings

penguins sitting on ice bergs (James' is the one on the left)

James and Daddy next to James' self portrait

A picture made by putting masking tape over paper, painting the page and then peeling the tape off.

Ms. Walters welcoming the parents

James' sun made from all sorts of household items

And, of course, cookies and juice for refreshments after the big show.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have a bunch of friends who are having babies this month and have been trying to make baby quilts for them.  Unfortunately, I am still lacking in the energy department so the process is going slower than I would like.  However, I have been using some creative energy so that is always a good thing.
Here are pictures of the step by step process of the rag circle quilt I made for my friend Jennie.  It takes a lot of time but turns out really cool.

Step 1:  Cut fabric into circles
Step 2:  Put two circles together (wrongsides touching) and sew around the edge.  Repeat.

Step 3:  Trace a square inside each circle
Step 4:  Sew two circles together along the side of the traced square.  Repeat.

Step 5:  Sew rows together using the square edges.
Step 6:  Fold over the flaps from the cirles and sew them down
Step 7:  Cut around all of the seams 1/4 inch apart

Step 8:  Wash the quilt and admire the results.

Granted, the above steps are over simplified but you get the general idea.  I absolutely love this quilt but the amount of effort can be daunting.  Most of the baby quilts I am making right now are not this elaborate for obvious reasons- but it was a fun exercise.  I will pst more pictures soon.